Alan Page, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, was honored on Friday, Oct. 19, as a Hometown Hall of Famer™ at his former high school in Canton, Ohio. In front of Canton Central Catholic High School’s entire student body, as well as staff, friends and relatives, Page accepted a special plaque that will live inside the high school as a permanent extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Special guests at the event included Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry and Pro Football Hall of Famer Franco Harris (Class of 1990).
Lisa Gissendaner, Page’s cousin and the event’s plaque presenter, took the stage and spoke about what a great role model Page had been for her and the Page family throughout her life. She stated, “we are who we are today because of the example you set for us when you were growing up.”
She also noted that while Page is a humble, quiet man, he had accomplished so much both on and off the field, saying “it’s not what you do in your career that counts, but what you do after and how you contribute to your community.” She was particularly proud that the Page Education Foundation has provided more than 5,000 scholarships to youth in the Minneapolis area and will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
Bob Belden, Page’s former teammate at Canton Central Catholic High School and at the University of Notre Dame, served as the event’s emcee. George Veras, President and CEO of Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises and Jason Michael, Allstate Insurance Company were also guest speakers.
“To see this program from Allstate and the Pro Football Hall of Fame come to life today at Central Catholic High School has been a tremendous experience,” said Jason Michael, an Allstate agent in North Canton, Ohio. “What a special opportunity for these students to hear directly from Justice Page, one of Canton’s greatest role models.”
When it was his time to speak, Page first thanked the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate for the opportunity to participate in the Hometown Hall of Famer ™ program at his high school, where he had not been for 40 years. He then went on to tell the students about the importance of seeking excellence, “not for the sake of awards but for reaching your highest potential.”
After speaking for a few minutes, Page left the podium and took the microphone out into the audience, talking directly to the students about choosing a path in life that allows them to have choices, and even calling on a few students to share their future plans after leaving Canton Central Catholic High School.
As a standout student-athlete in high school, Page was a multi-sport athlete who excelled on the football field. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Notre Dame, where he was a consensus All-American selection in 1966, the same year his team won the college football national championship.
A nine-time Pro Bowl selection as a defensive tackle in the NFL, Page amassed 23 opponents’ fumble recoveries, three safeties, two interceptions, and one touchdown during his 15 years playing in the NFL. In addition, Page helped lead his team to victories in four out of the five NFL/NFC title games in which he played. In 1971, he was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, the second defensive player to receive the honor. In 1978 he moved to the Chicago Bears, where he finished his career.
“Justice Page is a tremendous example of the hard-working mentality that this community takes so much pride in,” said Veras. “While we may only be a short drive from the actual Pro Football Hall of Fame, today’s event brought to life the accomplishments of Justice Page at his former high school and will serve to benefit the current and future students of Central Catholic.”
Page was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
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